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Cut EU spending. Cut aid. Charge for missed appointments. Cap family benefits. Tory members vote for their preferred deficit reduction measures...

By Tim Montgomerie
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In the latest monthly survey of members we asked respondents to describe certain revenue-raising measures as acceptable or unacceptable. I've already reported the verdict on higher council tax bands and a mansion tax but here is the full set of results:

Deficit reduction measure: % saying acceptable / % saying unacceptable

  • A cut in Britain's contribution to the EU: 95% / 4%
  • A reduction in the aid budget: 86% / 13%
  • A charge for every patient who misses an appointment with their GP: 76% / 19%
  • No child benefits for families with more than two children: 75% / 19%
  • Cuts to the benefits that go to wealthier pensioners: 74% / 22%
  • Higher council tax bands on high value properties: 57% / 40%
  • Charges for museums and galleries: 49% / 33%
  • A reduction in the NHS budget: 36% / 58%
  • A reduction in the defence budget: 25% / 72%
  • A 1p increase in the basic rate of income tax: 23% / 75%
  • An annual mansion tax on big homes: 22% / 73%
A few reactions to the results:
  • There's clearly massive support for a cut in Britain's contribution to the EU. Cameron doesn't need to study the fine print of this poll to know what he needs to do to boost his support among members and the public when he attends the next EU summit.
  • Second in the 'league table' is support for a cut in the aid budget. Earlier today we learnt that Justine Greening is considering cutting UK aid to India in half but the £280 million annual savings - if delivered - won't return to the Exchequer but will be diverted for development activity in even poorer nations.
  • By almost four-to-one members support Iain Duncan Smith's suggestion that there be some sort of benefits cap on family size. The Work and Pensions Secretary discussed this policy on Andrew Marr's show earlier - as well as confirming that wealthier pensioners will NOT lose their universal benefits (at least not in this parliament). See the final two paragraphs of this blogpost.
  • Like me most Tory members are converts to the Cameron policy of protecting NHS spending although 36% still would support some reduction in what is now Jeremy Hunt's budget.


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